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Despite the challenges faced by small businesses in retaining workers, such as their inability to offer higher salaries and benefits like health insurance, the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index reported a slight increase in hiring for small businesses in February. The index tracks hiring among thousands of companies with 300 or fewer employees across the country. According to Anna Rathbun, the chief investment officer of CBIZ, the unexpected strength of the U.S. economy is evident in the steady expansion of small business workforces in February.

While 20% of companies in the index added more staff, 60% made no changes to their headcounts, and 20% reduced their staff. Certain industries saw more hiring gains than others, including administrative and support services, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and technology and life sciences. On the other hand, industries like accommodation and food services, insurance, and utilities experienced decreases in hiring. Regionally, the West, Southeast, and Central regions saw slight increases in hiring, while the Northeast region saw a slight decline.

The positive hiring trends for small businesses mirror those seen in the broader job market in February. U.S. employers added 275

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